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MacQueen’s Quinterly: Knock-your-socks-off Art and Literature
Issue 10: October 2021
Haibun: 188 words
By Alice Wanderer

Sacred Space


On the west-facing wall of a corner shop, a four-metre-high mosaic forms the centrepiece of a community art project sponsored by various employment initiatives and the city council. Rough waves surge like octopus tentacles. A centaur shoots at the setting sun. Hand-painted ceramic tiles executed at various degrees of skill are embedded in the pavement. Neptune. Fish, starfish, sea urchins, crabs. All twelve astrological signs.

The corner shop’s large windows are protected by a grill. Early mornings, if we are not in lockdown, three or four old guys gather outside for a chinwag. The one with the biblical beard is cheery. He sings out greetings and words of wisdom he attributes to his mum. He calls me Alice in Wonderland. He, I joke, must be David the King.

The art project was not enough to save the rest of the shopping strip. For Sale signs. Graffiti.

But one evening, I stand there—mythical image on one side, a sunset blazing on the other. The garments of Apollo flare out in bonfire colours.

seagulls overhead...
my childhood without childhood’s
longing to be grown

Alice Wanderer
Issue 10, October 2021

lives in Frankston, Australia. Her haibun, a patchwork of responses to her local environment, have appeared in Presence, Bloo Outlier, Drifting Sands, Failed Haiku, and World Haiku Review, with more forthcoming in Modern Haiku and Contemporary Haibun Online. Her translations of the haiku of Sugita Hisajo were published by Red Moon Press in August, 2021.

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